Hello from Los Angeles!
It seems that everyone in this city aspires towards something – writing, acting, directing, filmmaking, or being on a reality television show. Whether someone grew up here under the shadow of the Hollywood sign or moved to Southern California to pursue their ambitions, people dream about breaking into the entertainment industry. If you don’t believe me, just ask any waiter or barista about their long term plans.
I got sucked in too.
I have written songs, attempted to teach myself to play the guitar, choreographed a dance, directed some short films, performed stand up comedy, and even written a play. I haven’t gotten an agent or head shots (pictures to promote my career), but perhaps I should ask for those for Christmas.
After realizing that every person was created by God with the capacity to be creative but not necessarily artistic, I began to discover the freedom of developing my own strengths which were more relational and organizational.
Recently, I had the opportunity to share some of the insights I have learned in working with those who truly are artistic in our community at Mosaic in Los Angeles. At an event sponsored by [Awaken] in New York City called Ethos, I shared some of these principles in a session called “Managing the Creative Beast.”
Managing the Creative Beast recognizing the following:
1. As leaders we aren’t supposed to be the most creative people within our organization. We are to be the equippers of others way more talented than we are (Eph. 4:11-13).
2. Managing the creative beast is challenging. It’s easier to manage someone who just wants to be told what to do. When we entrust ministry or opportunity to people wanting to flex their creative muscles, they may start moving in directions we don’t want them to go. At the same time, as leaders we need to help people find the freedom to express themselves while developing the character to avoid selfishness.
3. We should not try to tame the creative beast. If we do, they will leave, or we will stifle their creativity. Too often our structures are more important than the people we have forced into our structures.
4. Although we shouldn’t try to tame the creative beast, we can harness the energy in the right direction. Every beast needs its own jungle. By casting vision, inspiring, mobilize to service, focusing the creativity around servanthood (Mt. 10:39), and learning to say “no, but…” we can help creative people move forward as they move our community into new arenas.
5. At [Mosaic], our volunteer staff process creates the opportunities for spiritual mentoring and character development essential to avoiding the “talent trap.” Too often, as leaders we slip into valuing talent over character. In the end this hurts our community and the person we have recruited prematurely.
6. I have discovered my creative contribution is serving and managing the creative beast.
What is your creative contribution in your community? How have you been able to unleash your own creativity or the creativity of those around you?
Watch this video:
Ironically, this video was supposed to be shown at Ethos, but one of the guys on the video team forgot to bring it with us to New York City. This reminds me of another principle in unleashing creativity – learn to be forgiving and gracious because you will be disappointed with others just as you and I disappoint others as well.